ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 24th, 2017 09:13 pm)
This poem is spillover from the August 15, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "naked / vulnerable" square in my 7-31-17 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains some touchy topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features multiple references to past child abuse and neglect, social anxiety, financial anxiety, extreme body modesty, jealousy, shame, sex/gender diversity, creepy mannequins, visible scars from past abuse, unwelcome attention from Dr. G who quickly extrapolates the origin of Shiv's scars, unwelcome touching of Shiv by Edison who is too young to have learned better, lingering awkwardness from Halley's prior violation of Shiv's boundaries, and other challenges. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward. However, this is the beginning of the whole beach thread, so you need it to make sense of the later poems and the story "Family Stories" by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer.

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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 24th, 2017 01:45 pm)
[personal profile] mama_kestrel says, "I'll be able to put in $50 on the 29th. Can anyone join me?"

I am willing to extend the quarter-price option for "Branded in His Memory" beyond the sale proper if people have confirmed their intent to sponsor it.  These mega-epics are so big, they rarely sell at full price, so it's to everyone's benefit to catch them in a sale.  If you're looking to shop in the sale but have not yet done so, here's a great opportunity to get the most bang for your buck.  The one person who's seen this piece so far is raving about it.

Thanks to a donation from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, there are 23 new verses in "The Higher a Monkey Climbs."  Jules and Pips discuss how to support G's family after the fire.
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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:55 pm)
This is the freebie for the September 2017 [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon. It also fills the "merfolk" square in my 9-1-17 card for the Pirate Fest bingo.


"Black Swan Lake"


She swims,
her long neck
a graceful curve,
her black feathers
sleek and unruffled.

Sometimes,
she changes.

She swims,
her two feet
now a single fin,
her black breasts
bobbing in the water.

In both forms, she
is the secret mistress
of Black Swan Lake.

* * *

Notes:

See the black swan in bird form and mermaid form.

Mermaids appear in legends from around the world, including Africa.

I finished this earlier in the week, and decided to offer it for the half-price sale since it's so big that it's unlikely to sell for full price.

"Branded in His Memory"
Summary: A mass-casualty incident brings Ansel to the Christian Care Rescue Mission in Bluehill. It's an ugly mess, but he does a wonderful job of helping everyone recover -- not just from their fresh injuries, but whatever put them in a homeless shelter to begin with.
$1555 lines, was $778, sale price $389, quarter-price $194.50

I'd rather not open another epic for microfunding, but this one is big enough that if you buy the whole thing (or pool with someone to do so) then it automatically gets the quarter-price rate.  That's true for any of the other epics that cost $100 or more.
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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 23rd, 2017 04:41 pm)
Today is hot, muggy, and sunny as I discovered when I went outdoors to plant bulbs.  I wound up watering plants, and only planting the fist-sized purple frittilaria bulb in the purple-and-white garden.

Many of the flowers are drying up, although a few are still blooming.  Sedum and goldenrods are flowering vigorously.

Still not much activity at the birdfeeders, but we saw a squirrel doing acrobatics on the hopper feeder and another bird near the fly-through feeder that may have been a phoebe or a flycatcher.  It was dark with a white belly, but seemed to have more of a crest than a dark-eyed junco.

EDIT 9/23/17 -- I went back out and planted 12 blue miniature iris.  I put 4 each in the purple-and-white garden, goddess garden, and wildflower garden.  \o/

I need to get out and gather/redistribute seeds.  Many of my wildflowers have gone to seed.  :D
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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 23rd, 2017 01:36 pm)
Recently I came across a couple of discussions about technology, public speaking, and accessibility. One of them is in [community profile] access_fandom and links to the other which is a Unitarian-Universalist post. The crux of the matter is that people with hearing impairment often need amplification in order to hear, but not everyone is willing or able to use a microphone. And those groups don't always know about each other's concerns, which causes friction.

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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 23rd, 2017 01:01 pm)
 [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon is doing a one-card draw.  Tipping gets you an extra card, or you can buy a 5-card reading.
Usually, when I do ritual, creating sacred space is easy. I hold my intent softly and gently in my mind, and I am there. Day or night, private or public space, the presence of candles, incense, or other sacred tools--it doesn't matter.

Except when it does.

Being able to do it so casually most of the time can make it harder to notice when it isn't just happening, much less to figure out why. Especially since life is usually unusually hard at that point--and isn't that when we need our sacred spaces the most?.

This is complicated by the fact that I find that living my life with the awareness and intent that each moment is sacred to be more important than formal ritual, which so often can be empty, or filled with a sense of bored obligation rather than an awareness and celebration of the divine within and without. Yeah, there's boredom and drudgery in any path--it's impossible to convince myself that washing dishes is sacred on an experiential level, no matter how much I agree it's sacred on a logical level, for instance--so it's a challenge to try to stay in that mental space, even when evil is not on the rise, even when there's no clear and present danger that in the near future I won't have the money and healthcare I need, and even when there's no urgent worries about the health or well-being of people I care about.

Add those things in, and that sense of wonder, of the sacred, can slip away like a well drying up in a drought. It's there, and it's there, and it's there (though you have to work harder and be more patient to drink your fill), until, one day, it's not there, or at least is not enough.

And for all my belief that we can defeat this evil and all my determination that we will (because we must), it's taking its toll. I don't want to have to spend time on politics, not day in and day out. I don't want to be looking at my dwindling income and the threats to Obamacare and the threats of violence to queer people and worrying about the future. My health issues affect my sleep on my best nights. Worries don't help at all, and exhaustion mimics depression remarkably well. It's no wonder I've been feeling worn, overwhelmed, uninspired, and distracted.

But my good friend Susan Urban and her husband were playing at Pagan Pride (as a group, they call themselves February Sky), and though I overslept and we got there late, I was determined to get there. And we did get there, and I was walking around listening to the music, looking at things and talking quietly to the vendors, and the sweet old lady doing readings talked me into a discounted reading. She assured me her cards could give me insight into what I most need to know, and that's why I was at her table. Then she asked about my question. Half of my focus was on the music and the other half, the part thinking about my life, was just kind of overwhelmed. I stuck with that question: "What do I most need to know?".

She does readings using three decks. She had me shuffle the first deck, fan them out, and draw cards one at a time, three from the first deck and one each from the other two. First, I drew Armadillo, which she said was all about setting boundaries appropriately, but also a warning to face my troubles and not try to hide in my shell. Armadillo was flanked by cards for the mental and practical, lizard, for dreams, and snake, for rebirth. A lot of reptiles--maybe signifying that I'm naturally more affected by the metaphysical weather than I thought? I don't know. But the boundaries thing, that rang true in lots of ways, from keeping the boundaries on my food intake I need to stay healthy to limiting my exposure to all the upsetting news happening today. I've also had a task to organize my writing and arting better that I set into my Google calendar. It's been recurring as instructed for a few weeks now, whether or not I had the time and energy to do it, and that is also essentially an issue of boundaries, of carving out time and focus so I get more done. Not that I saw all that in the moment, but I felt at least some of it, on a deep, wordless level.

And then she had me draw a card from the second deck, the deck she said was Spirit Guides. I've never felt a particular affinity to Panda, but the advice that I need to create a sacred space in my home and place of work, that certainly rang true, and continues to ring true. There are plenty of things that have been making me crazy about my work and living spaces. There's reasons for all of that, of course; I've been focused on accomplishing urgent things. But that doesn't leave much space or time for thinking about making sacred space and sacred time where and when I most need it. That dovetails right into the need to tend boundaries, really, in my mind. I've started to act on that part. Since the reading, I've prioritized putting at least a little time every day into finishing the plaster work on our currently deconstructed dry goods closet (I pulled it apart when I didn't have time because the detritus made it clear it had become a mouse haven, and wouldn't be a safe haven for our food and oven parchment and so forth until the holes were fixed), and cleaning my office (I'd kept enough space for writing, barely, but had started sorting old papers and cluttered things up quite a bit. Mind you sorting those papers is a legitimate business activity, but having them clutter up my creative space was far from inspirational. I will just have to refuse to pull more stuff out to sort than I can finish in one sitting, not to have my office look like it belongs in some yuppy magazine, but because I need the space to feel inspired.) There's work yet to do on both of those things, and other stuff to do after, but at least I have started. Some of this was clear to me when she turned Panda over for me to see, but it reflects into other things too, into my goal of giving away or throwing away stuff I don't need and even into remembering to go out and pick up the trash that blows into (and gets stuck in) my rose bushes.

Finally, from a deck that's all wolves, I received the advice that I'm at a crossroads, with an emphasis that I am not at a dead end, I am free to choose my new direction. Additionally, the card advised me to plan and to keep focused on what's practical. I'm not sure what to make of that yet, but I'm still working on the boundaries and the sacred space. I expect that once I get those things in order, I'll start to see what paths are available and what choices I have to choose between. And certainly, with the danger of having less resources in the future, keeping practicality in mind matters.

I suppose that now I should go check on that drying plaster. It would be nice to paint the closet tomorrow, or at least very soon. Once it's dry, I can put stuff away that's currently hard to find and underfoot in the library.

And then I'll remember a lesson learned in my divorce, and do some formal ritual to help things along. Candles, incense, statues and so on are only symbols to help me focus (I learned, long ago, that if I tried to rely on an object for my magic, it would break or disappear all too soon)--but when I'm having trouble focusing, they are powerful symbols. And the tools I use are all, in and of themselves, beautiful and in alignment with my higher self, or I wouldn't use them in the first place.

They'll still be in a space that's imperfectly cleaned and sorted, but I can celebrate the progress I've made and plan for what I need to do to move forward, in whatever directions I will choose along the way.

Blessed Be to all of you, my friends. May you have the sacred space you need, and may your boundaries be wisely set and wholesome. May your dreams be strong, and if you need to shed a skin or two, I hope it won't itch too much as you shed the old and grow into the new. And when you face a crossroads, may you be aware that very few choices are between a good path and a bad one. May you see clearly the risks and benefits of your choices, and may you find inspiring and practical ways to work to achieve your dreams, and kindness along the way.
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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 23rd, 2017 01:07 am)
The [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam is now open with a theme of "black swans."


What I Have Written

"Black Swan Lake" is the freebie.

From this I got the free-verse poem "Revisitation." Shaeth hears a prayer from a long-time follower, and this time decides to answer it.
47 lines, Buy It Now = $20


From My Prompts 

[personal profile] alatefeline  has written the poem "I Don't See Black Swans" about compensation and decompensation.
Life keeps being, well, life. I sure don't feel balanced, either in world news (so many hurricanes and earthquakes!) or politics (I can't believe the GOP is still trying to take away my health care) or personal life (renewing my license plate is expensive enough without having the engine light on my car start to glow to assure me I'd fail the emissions test without repairs). Life feels so very uncertain, for me and for so many, many other people right now. It would be too easy to get lost in worrying, but that isn't a good life, and wouldn't help me or anyone else.

Last weekend, we went to a Pagan Pride gathering and got to listen to one of my favorite musical groups. While I was there, I let myself be talked into getting a reading by a lady who used three different animal-based decks. I had too many possible questions in mind, so I stuck with the simple question, "what do I most need to know?". She drew me Armadillo, which she said was all about setting boundaries appropriately, but also a warning to face my troubles and not try to hide in my shell. Armadillo was flanked by lizard, for dreams, and snake, for rebirth. My spirit Guide was drawn from another deck, and was Panda, who advised me to create a sacred space in my home and place of work. Finally, from a deck that's all wolves, I received the advice that I'm at a crossroads. The more I think about boundaries and sacred space, the more different ways I see that this reading applies in my life. So I've been working to get my spaces in better shape for the work I need to do and the life I want to live. Maybe I'll write more about that in a separate post.

But it's Equinox (or about to be), and the New Moon (or was, just a bit ago), so I'm reminded that one of the sacred things I chose to do for this year is to do regular readings. Maybe I can bring you some inspiration or some insight to help you find a new balance in your life.

So, on to the readings.

New friends and old are very welcome. I'd love to do a bunch of readings!

I am continuing to offer a five-card reading for $25, or if you want a larger reading we can discuss costs. As always, a signal boost will allow you to ask for a clarification card on some part of this reading, if you wish. Alternatively, you can ask for a Torn World reading and get an in-character reading in Affamarg or the Breidalam Mountains using that world's standard layout for the divination disks.

Or, of course, you can simply ask for a single card (with the usual clarifying card for people who tip). The guitar case below is my personal PayPal link, featuring my own artwork, which still inspires me even though it isn't Tarot-related. I'm still thinking about doing an appropriate self-portrait. Not today--but should it be realistic or abstract? Me as I am, or me as I might be portrayed in a deck? The idea is percolating, anyway. But back to readings!

You may ask about real life or a creative project, even a game. I can draw a card for you to meditate on, to represent the Guide you need right now, or to get you unstuck. I can draw a card for a character or can draw a card or cards for you to use as writing or art prompts, and I can modify a more-traditional five-card spread into a prompt for a story focusing on plot or characters or a little of both.

For free one card readings, you can pick from the Brian Froud's Faeries Oracle, the Daughters of the Moon Tarot (one of the round decks), or the Shapeshifter Tarot. You can ask a question, ask for a Guide or for inspiration, or you can just ask for a card. I don't need to know what your question is, but you are welcome to share it with me if you like.

The first card is free (though tips are always appreciated). Tips (including requests for longer readings) also let you ask me to use any of my other decks, including but not limited to my combined Susan Seddon Boulet Animal Spirits and Goddesses cards and my Fantasy Showcase Tarot deck where each card was done by a different science fiction/fantasy artist.

Tipping can also be used to request a private reading, or to draw a clarifying card if the initial card (or paid multi-card reading) leaves you with questions. If you want a longer reading, send a direct message so we can agree on the type of reading and rate.

Signal boosts are very much appreciated, and also earn you the right to ask for a clarifying card. (If you only signal boost, please do not ask for two cards to start with. A clarifying card, if the reading is unclear to you, is fine.)

I understand all too well that when people don't have cash or spoons that is generally when they most need inspiration! Don't be afraid to ask for a card if you can't tip.

If you tip, it's helpful to me for you to mention it here so I can connect your Paypal information with your request. Tips should be at least $1 (Paypal charges fees). If Paypal doesn't work for you, drop me a message and we'll work something out.

I've written before about why I do readings and some of the decks I use here, feel free to hop over and check me out. I'll wait.

I will reply to all requests. In the highly unlikely event that the number of requests nears my limits, I'll close this card draw by changing the status line below rather than risk leaving anyone without a response.

Thank you, and Blessed Be!

Status: Open to free readings through 9/24; open to tipped readings until this status message is changed.

As always, these readings are for entertainment and inspiration only. See my "Dandelyon's Readings" page if you have questions.

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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 21st, 2017 03:47 am)
 ... is not new, is more solid than ever, but people still aren't listening.
Scientists have discovered a geometric shape at the center of reality, whose form defines the behavior of particles.  It's a lot simpler than trying to calculate by hand the way those things move.  It goes from hundreds of pages of math to one. 

Meanwhile I'm laughing my ass off because, well, om mani padme hum.  Not the sound of the chant, but it's literal meaning: the jewel in the heart of the lotus.  Mystical people have been staring at this thing forever, because A) it's inspiring, B) it's really pretty, and C) when you're out of your body on a lot of other dimensions it tends to be right in front of your face and kind of hard to ignore.  Which is okay because A and B.  :D  Anyhow, quantum mechanics might like to take a look at the prismatic branch of sacred art.  Perhaps it will prove inspiring.  Because quantum physics is where magic and science meet, which is why it's cool.  I may not be able to hack the math, but quantum physics still makes my existential intelligence sit up and go squee.

On the downside, this means people are getting reeeeeaaaalllly close to figuring out graviton technology.  This is about as relaxing as realizing that the toddler has just about figured out how to turn on the blowtorch.  O_O  
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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 20th, 2017 06:22 pm)
A few days ago, I filled the birdfeeders.  Today I saw a mourning dove on the fly-through feeder, so at least one bird has discovered the seed.  \o/ 
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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 20th, 2017 03:50 am)
Life is full of things which are hard or tedious or otherwise unpleasant that need doing anyhow. They help make the world go 'round, they improve skills, and they boost your sense of self-respect. But doing them still kinda sucks. It's all the more difficult to do those things when nobody appreciates it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our accomplishments and pat each other on the back.

What are some of the hard things you've done recently? What are some hard things you haven't gotten to yet, but need to do?
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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 19th, 2017 10:38 pm)
I got back out to pick up pears, so we cleaned half a bucket of them, and I put the bits in a crockpot to cook into pie filling.  :D
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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 19th, 2017 04:24 pm)
Today is warm, partly cloudy, and muggy.  We went out to the orchard and removed many many field weeds from under the pear tree.  It is a bumper year for pears, they are all over the ground already, with plenty left overhead.  If I have the energy, I'll go back out later and pick up a bucket of them to make pie filling. 
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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 19th, 2017 03:16 am)
Here is an essay about a professor leaving academia

I went to U of I.  There were parts of it that I enjoyed, and the culture wasn't that bad.  But I can see parallels.  For me it was more a matter of looking at the way education was going, and deciding not to get involved in public education as a teacher.  It was obviously going down the tubes, and that was decades ago; it's infinitely worse now.  So too, many colleges.  :/  I couldn't stop it.  I could sure get the hell out of the way.
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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Sep. 19th, 2017 02:34 am)
This poem is spillover from the February 2, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [livejournal.com profile] my_partner_doug, [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon, and [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fills the "separation and reunion" square in my 1-23-16 card for the Valentines Bingo fest. This poem has been posted as a birthday present for [personal profile] callibr8. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

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